Shoe Shopping When You Have Huge Feet

Clothes shopping can be tough because I’m fat, but I do know how to sew and if worse comes to worst, I can create clothes for myself. Bra shopping is a pain, but at least no one will see those bras (without my permission). But shoes. Shoes. I’ve worn an 11 in women’s shoes since I was about 12 years old. And short of some cobbler elves helping me out, it will never stop sucking.

My mom was a bit of a fashionista in her youth, and she longed to continue buying fancy shoes as she got older. She generally did not, because of the combination of cost and impracticability of the shoes she desired, but she did have quite the collection of pink Skechers when she died. She tried to live vicariously through me, but as with so many of her hopes, that was doomed to failure nearly from the start.

After all, I was able to wear her shoes starting in fifth grade, and then surpassed her size when I was in middle school. I don’t know why. I’m the same height as my mother. My father was completely average in size. Bodies are funny.

For most of my teen years and early twenties, I simply wore men’s shoes. I’m a completely average size in men’s; I can always find a variety of styles. When it came to heels or anything remotely feminine, I had to settle for “close enough.”

I have a lot of nostalgia for ’90s fashion, because we all wore Dr. Martens and all our feet looked the same and it was great. (Your nostalgia may vary.)

My current pair of work shoes have just worn out. I bought them in 2012 and wore them nearly every day for about 10 months, so I’m not unhappy with how long they lasted. But Ahnu doesn’t make that style anymore, so back at it.

I’m so picky, too. The shoes need to: 1. be my size 2. be a reasonable price 3. look semi-decent 4. not be black. Yeahhhhhh.

At one shoe store, the helpful young male clerk said, “You know, a lot of women with larger feet buy men’s shoes!” How novel.

At another store, I did break down and try on men’s shoes because they didn’t look incredibly hideous. Until I put them on. I looked like I was playing dress-up in Frankenstein’s Monster’s closet. The women’s shoes wouldn’t fit over my toes.

So now I’ve done what all big-feet-havers do, ordered shoes online and hoped for the best. I’ve spent hours looking at Zappos, Amazon, and shoe company websites. I’ve cried over the thought that maybe now it’s time to just get the frickin’ Danskos, and then remembering that the one time I tried some on, they didn’t fit.

“It’s okay to get the ugly ‘nurse clogs,'” I told myself. “You work at a school that teaches medical programs. Lots of other people there wear clogs. These are almost cute!” But I just couldn’t do it.

I’ve ordered two pairs of Skechers and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

 

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Natasha

History. Hindi cinema. Hugging cats.

16 thoughts on “Shoe Shopping When You Have Huge Feet”

  1. Sketchers Biker Quick Step Sneakers. It’s a mouthful, but they’re my trusty work shoes. They’re perfect because they’re comfortable, have no laces, and are easy to slip shoe covers over (I’m a nurse and eff Danskos). They also make my feet look smaller so yeah…perfection.

  2. Weirdly, I wore a 10 in high school but a 9 now. My problem is that I have ridiculously high arches, which means that my feet are too tall for a lot of shoes and I need a ton of arch support, but even when shoes have high insteps they usually don’t line up right with my feet. I don’t understand how people buy shoes online; I can try on a dozen pairs and not have any of them be comfortable.

  3. My s.o. wears a men’s size 13. When I took him cross-country skiing last winter, the ski rental place’s largest boot was a size 12. After that ordeal, he went online to search for size 13 cross-country ski boots. Apparently that’s an unlucky number, because he found size 12, 12.5, and 14 boots. Shoe/boot shopping in general comes down to, “ooh, these look nice! are they in my size? nope. {sigh}”

        1. The bunion is totally self-diagnosed :). But I don’t know what else it could be and my body likes to overreact in interesting ways. Fortunately, I tend to gravitate naturally towards shoes with lots of room in the toe box. However, I saw this one lady where the angle between her big toe and the side of her foot was at LEAST 45 degrees.

  4. I am a 10W/11W. It is really a pain in my ass too to find shoes that aren’t men’s shoes. I have had some luck finding some cute shoes. But for Heels its almost like forget about it. I really want some cute heels but I have only found a few cute pairs that fit me.
    My wife wears a size 11 or 12 as well so she understands our pain.

  5. I am there and this is my world. #giantfeetsolidarity DSW is an amazing place. We have many of the same requirements (I am okay with black shoes though.) Their clearance rack saves my life. They have sizes up to 12, in nice shoes, with great variety, and the clearance rack goes from 15% to 90% off. If you can find one, even if it’s a drive, it’s worth the trip.

      1. AND, if you are in love with a pair of shoes, but don’t see them in your size, they can scan the bar code and let you know if they’re online or at another store in your size in under five minutes. It’s awesome. And then? They’ll order/hold them for you. Brilliant.

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